One really fun yearly tradition we have is going down to Long Beach with Jacob and enjoying the Belmont Shore Stroll and Savor. Every third Wednesday and Thursday of the summer months, dozens of restaurants on 2nd Street in Long Beach would line the sidewalks, selling mini-samples of their menu items. It was a fun time trying lots of tasty foods. Just counting up the number of times I've written about it on the blog, I'm seeing we've gone at least 13 times. Wow.
With COVID in full swing, it wasn't likely that the Stroll and Savor was going to happen this year. That's unfortunate because we have so many good memories from it. We've also had so many people come visit us and we'd take them to the Stroll and Savor.
So, if we can't go to the Belmont Shore Stroll and Savor, then today, the Belmont Shore Stroll and Savor 2020 will be at the Flowers' House! And if you thought recreating foods from 1 restaurant was a challenge, today we've upped the ante and are making things from 6 different places!
Because we aren't going in person this year, I'm going to be interspersing some photos from past years into today's report. It should be a fun look back!
From our 2015 visit, Jacob is showing us the tickets we'll need in order to buy food samples. Eat item costs anywhere between 1-5 tickets, with ticket books selling for $10 for 12 tickets.
We can't have a Stroll and Savor without tickets then, can we? Using my photoshop skills, I made new tickets, just for today! You'll note the date has been updated and the website points to flowerstales.com instead of to the belmontshore.org.
Now, let's dig into all that tasty food.
In 2011, 2012, and 2014, somehow Rita always lined up her visits to be that same week that the Belmont Shore Stroll and Savor was going on. Is because of the Bruschetta from La Strada? That's definitely a possibility.
Aubrey from 2014. The Bruschetta from here is something we've talked about even outside the Stroll and Savor, and we're always hoping La Strada has it available each year.
Aww, look how little baby Alli was back in 2016. Ian had just given her a piece of tomato from the Bruschetta and she just loved it!
So with that kind of fan club, it's obvious that bruschetta is on the menu for tonight. Since I've been making all sorts of breads lately, I'll be making today's bread as well. Instead of the regular French Bread, I'll be making a French Baguette. A baguette has a crunchier crust and will hold up better to the wet tomatoes and balsamic.
I used a recipe for "How to Make a French Baguette" from bakerbettie.com. It started with a little flour, yeast, and water, the day before, called a Poolish, which would have plenty of time to ferment and give the bread a more complex flavor.
Then it was time to form the dough. It was quite a bit more involved than the regular french bread recipe I've been making.
Once the loaves had a chance to rise, I put them into a very hot oven and tossed a large handful of ice cubes into a skillet I had on the bottom of the oven. It made a giant steam oven for these to cook in.
And 35 minutes later, I had four loaves of wonderfully crunchy and very tasty french baguettes. I'll only be using 2 loaves for the bruschetta. Somehow those extra loaves of hot bread seem to disappear around here.
I sliced disks of bread, brushed them with olive oil, and then toasted them for a few minutes before we finally added the balsamic and tomato topping. Yum!
If there's one other "classic" thing that we always get when we go, it's got to be the Ground Pepperoni Pizza from Domenico's. This photo is from 2018 when my brother Jon happened to be out visiting.
The ground pepperoni pizza is literally covered with pepperoni. There's not a lot of sauce, nor a lot of cheese. This pizza is a pepperoni-lovers dream.
I'll be making everything from scratch of course. The dough was a simple flour, yeast, sugar, salt, oil, and water mixture. Nothing fancy here.
But it was the pepperoni that was hard to find. There were plenty of stores that had sliced pepperoni, but finding the sticks that I could grind myself was proving to be a challenge. Eventually our nearby Vons had it in their deli section.
Using the food processor, I ground up the two sticks of pepperoni.
Here's the pizza before the pepperoni goes on. See, light cheese and light sauce.
And this is what it looks like afterwards! This pizza is completely covered in pepperoni.
Domenico's has two more dishes that are delicious. A Rigatoni pasta with Tomato Cream and Slice Sausage, and Chicken Basil Cream with Penne pasta. When we're at the Stroll and Savor, we usually end up getting all three and splitting them. This picture is from 2019 when Jacob and I did just that.
And even though the noodles might look pretty similar, we're striving for accuracy and making both kinds.
I prepped some chicken breast with pepper, salt, and italian seasoning, before cooking it on the stovetop.
And we're going to need some sliced link sausage for the tomato cream pasta.
Theresa made up our sauces. For her usual white alfredo sauce, she's mixing it up and putting 1/2 parmesan and 1/2 asiago. Along with the fresh basil from the garden, it's sure to make for a delicious sauce.
Certainly can't forget about dessert either. At Frosted Cupcakery they have mini red velvet cupcakes that are a big hit. Theresa from 2012.
Theresa is using her recipe for Red Velvet Bundt Cake and putting them into cupcake instead.
They look delicious Theresa! Just need a little bit of time to cool off before frosting them.
And Theresa made up a batch of cream cheese frosting to put on top of them. They're going to be delicious.
If there's one thing the kids love here, it's the ice cream from Paradis. In this photo from 2017, Alli is helping herself to Ian's bowl.
Which is why in 2018, they each have their own bowls. And in 2019, on the drive down to Long Beach and all the time while walking around, they kept wanting to know when we'd be getting to the ice cream place.
My recipe for the Strawberry Gelato comes courtesy of biggerbolderbaking.com. After making a custard with egg, I whipped up some cream, and also pureed a few strawberries. Then everything got mixed together and placed into the freezer.
I'm still without an ice cream machine, and today instead of the two-bowls method for making ice cream, I'm going with the frozen bowl method. For this method, you really just take your ice cream base, put it into a metal bowl and put it in the freezer. Then every 30 minutes, you go mix the bowl up, making sure to scrape down the sides and spread the cold around. In the end, you're left with an airy ice cream.
What about something to drink? Typically we don't get anything, but I did find this photo from 2012 sipping on a Strawberry Lemonade. I wasn't as thorough back then as I am now, and I didn't write down where it came from. No matter, I can whip something up.
Using lemon juice I squeezed from lemons I got from a friend's tree, I blended everything with some tasty strawberries.
And I made sure to pour everything through a fine mesh sieve to keep all those gritty strawberry seeds out of our tasty strawberry lemonade.
There's only one thing that would make this whole experience better.
We invited him over to experience it all with us, using proper social distancing, of course. He brought his own table and chair, set up on the other end of the driveway, and we had the common food table in between us.
Not quite the same variety we'd get at the Stroll and Savor, where in one night we've tasted 16 different things, but still really good for making it all at home ourselves.
There's the delicious Bruschetta representing La Strada.
For Cheese Addiction, we have a bowl of 3 different cheese cubes. Sharp cheddar, smoked cheddar, and Monterey Jack.
Domenico's Italian Restaurant is very well represented tonight.
The ground pepperoni pizza turned out wonderfully! If the crust on my pizza wasn't so thick, I'd say it's looks just like the real thing.
The Sausage Tomato Cream rigatoni pasta looks great.
As does the Chicken Basil Cream penne.
The kids' plates are made. They've got a tasty sampling of everything.
After getting our food, Jacob took his turn.
That's a pretty tasty looking plate there Jacob.
I was really happy to be doing the Stroll and Savor again this year.
And here's my plates. With this many good things, I had to get two.
The ground pepperoni pizza was really tasty. It was Ian's favorite thing of the night, followed by the 3 different cheese cubes. My favorite had to be the Chicken Basil Cream pasta and the Bruschetta. I could have kept eating and eating those.
We can't forget about dessert though! Alli finished her food and kept asking if it was time for cupcakes yet.
Representing Paradis Ice Cream, this is our delicious Strawberry Gelato.
And Theresa's version of Frosted Cupcakery's Red Velvet cupcakes look great! We didn't have any little red sugar hearts to put on top like they do, so a little red sugar Mickey Mouse will have to do instead.
Excellent job on your part Theresa.
Someone is happy for her dessert.
And they both loved the Red Velvet cupcakes. They were Alli's favorite thing of the night.
So that's 8 unique items for our first Belmont Shore Stroll and Savor at Home. Did I say first? Yes, after how well everything here turned out, we'll be doing this at least one more time this summer. There's still a bunch of tasty things from the Stroll and Savor that we didn't make yet. As soon as Jacob got home, we started a text to figure out our favorites to put on the menu for next time!